Wisconsin Public Radio: Remembering 9/11 Through The Lens of a Photojournalist
- TIME Magazine: James Nachtwey on How Photography Can Change the World
JN: Oh absolutely. I’ve seen so much goodness come out of the most horrible situations, so much generosity and hospitality and caring and kindness, that I can’t help but be moved and humbled by it. There’s a very large installation (in the exhibition), about 32 feet long. It’s one single file, one single print – a composite of 60 images made in combat field hospitals during the war in Iraq. They’re pictures of lives being saved. I tried to make the point of view that of a member of the medical team, so you feel as if you’re right inside, seeing what they’re doing to save lives. It’s called "The Sacrifice."
When accepting his lifetime achievement award:
"We’re the point people, the first link with reality in a collaborative, journalistic chain. Each of us is a single mind, a single sensibility – one pair of eyes and one pair of ears – one heart – moving through the real world in real time, to tell the stories of what happens to people, one-by-one, at the sharp end of history. We navigate dangers, endure hardships and get our hearts broken by what we witness, over and over again, because we believe that peoples’ opinions matter – that our society cannot function properly without the information we provide and without the stories we tell.
Our work is aimed at our readers’ best instincts – generosity, compassion, a sense of right-and-wrong, a sense of identification with others – on a human level, across cultures, beyond the borders of nationality – and perhaps most importantly, the refusal to accept the unacceptable.
We question the powerful. We hold decision-makers accountable. The chain we help forge links the people we encounter in the field to millions of other individual minds and sensibilities. And once mass consciousness evolves into a shared sense of conscience, change becomes not only possible; it becomes inevitable."
philosopher, and author who did not live to see September 11, 2001.
"Language has made us more than a group of pack hunting monkeys. It's made us a group of pack hunting monkeys with a dream. And the fallout from that dream has given us our glory and our shame. Our weaponry, our technology, our art, our hopes, our fears. All of this arises out of our own ability to articulate and to communicate with each other. And I use this in the broadest sense.
To me, the glory of the human animal is cognitive activity. Song. Dance. Sculpture. Poetry. All of these cognitive activities when we participate in them, we cross out of the animal domain of animal organization and into a genuine domain of the transcendent. A birth of a new kind of humanity is going to take place. But there are still of a lot of decisions to be made. How violent shall this birth be? What toll should it take upon our mother, the earth, what shape shall the baby be in when it is finally delivered?
These are the decisions that artists can mediate and control."
More from Chi Yongxin, the Chinese photojournalist who
cycled the Silk Road and spent considerable time in Kobane.
Syrian refugee camp in Suruç, Turkey, & homeland Kobane.
Fundraiser "The Happiness Cycle"
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On Living and Dying
Legendary American Ethnobotanist